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View Diary: Worst Funeral, Ever. (112 comments)

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  •  My mother died at age 90. I delivered (5+ / 0-)

    the eulogy. I was 69 then. I had been told by her and by my father, who preceded her by several years, several things that they wanted me to say. I wrote them down and wrote down a brief history of her life, where she was born, what happened to her father when she was only six, how the Great Depression impacted her, I said some things about each of her siblings, all deceased, and about how she liked school, things she accomplished in school, how she met her husband and how things went on their marriage day, about WWII and its effect on her and her children, how we went to visit my father as he was getting ready to be shipped out for the invasion of Japan and how the bomb had been dropped as we were coming home, how she loved her work, and things about each of her children. In addition she had a long list of people she wished to thank who had been kind to her and to her mother over the years. Most of those people had died long ago. So I wrote this story and rehearsed it and I knew that most of the people who heard it were too young to begin to understand.

    And I knew I would cry. So I put two handkerchiefs in each pocket of my suit, and when the time came I delivered the eulogy. I bawled the whole time and used all of those handkerchiefs.

    There were many people there, and I didn't know why many of them came, but they were nice and said nice things about my mother. Apparently she had helped them at one time or another.

    Long before all of that, I actually worked at a funeral home while I was in college. I saw lots and lots of funerals. There are good ones and bad ones. All I learned by watching all of that is that I have always been glad I went to the funerals of people I knew, and I was unhappy when I failed to attend some.

    The funeral directors at the funeral home where I worked, told me that funerals were for the living, not for the deceased. And that is true, I suppose, and  believed it for a long time. But now, fifty years later, I have attended many funerals of people I knew and in many cases they have talked about the funeral they someday would have. They liked to picture it and to plan it. And now that my retirement is almost over, I realize that funerals are for the deceased too. Thinking about it, planning it, trusting the details to someone else, are aspects of funerals that can comfort the living before they die.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 08:55:20 AM PST

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